Monthly Archives: February 2009

Spectacle Donation

Posted on by Jackie

Every time I visit Sri Lanka I am struck by the lack of people wearing glasses. And it is always been quite clear that the reason is one of cost and not because most people are wearing contact lenses.

We, therefore, jumped at the chance to hold an eye clinic at our offices in Tissa, hosted by a team from DS Jayasinghe in Colombo.

Children from numerous schools around the town and the residents of two OAP homes benefited from the tests, which led to 155 pairs glasses being dispatched at a total cost of US$4,200.

 

Disabled Bicycle

Posted on by Jackie

Towards the end of 2008, our computer centre manager Tharindu alerted us to the plight of a local man who had become almost totally housebound because of a deformity in his legs, which made walking difficult.

His problems were further exacerbated by the fact that he lived out in a very rural area and didn’t have the funds to get into town on a bus or three-wheeler.

In fact his only source of income was selling lottery tickets on the path outside his home making just over US$1 a day. Getting him a wheelchair did not seem very practical given the state of the path, but Jaya found a shop in Colombo, which makes bicycles that can be pedalled by hand.

We delivered the bike early in 2009 and after a lot of practise he was able to learn how to balance and ride it.

 

Yala Trip

Posted on by Jackie

Yala National Park is Sri Lanka’s most visited national park and top of many tourist itineraries. Yet although entry is free for locals, only the richest can really visit, as everyone has to pay a jeep driver to show them around.

Therefore, hardly anyone in Tissa has been even though it is right on the town’s doorstep. So when we asked the kids who work for SRI staff where they would like to visit, this was their number one choice.

Pictured right are Rashmika (son of our security guard Mr Jinasena) and Chintaka (brother of our computer centre manager Tharindu). The four kids plus Jonathan, Richenda, Jaya and I had a great lunch at the eco resort Yala Village.

This was followed by a trip round the park in Mr Teddy’s jeep. The same trip was repeated the day after with the family of one of Jonathan’s sponsorship students.

Sadly on both occasions, the park’s resident leopards proved to be extremely elusive.

 

 

Bundala Trip

Posted on by Jackie

Bundala’s lack of leopards means the park is largely shunned by foreign tourists in favour of nearby Yala National Park.

This lack of people isn’t great for the park’s revenue stream, but is wonderful for the people who do visit because they nearly always have the place to themselves.

This, plus the park’s outstanding beauty, is one of the reasons why it is my favourite place in Sri Lanka and I always try to arrange visits with a group of students.

This year, we took a group of students from Osuwinna School. Jaya gave them a talk about the park’s birdlife from a viewing platform overlooking some of the lagoons, then Mr Teddy drove everyone and down the sand dunes.

We were lucky to see a group of elephants at very close quarters and there were a huge number of migratory birds.

 

Weerawila Children’s Home – Christmas Party

Posted on by Jackie

My good friend Richenda came to Sri Lanka for the first time over New Year 2008 and was keen to pay for a Christmas party at Weerawlia Lama Nikethanaya Children’s Home just outside of Tissa.

The home is run by a local lawyer, Mr Bandara and his wife, and has about 50 children most of whom have suffered abuse of some kind.

Before Richenda and I arrived, we asked the kids what presents they would like. Nearly all the smaller children opted for teddy bears, while the older girls chose dolls and the boys, cars – no gender stereotyping there!!

The children seemed to have a great time and so did the adults since the absence of a modern day children’s entertainer meant we had the kind of party we would have enjoyed as children – lots of pass the parcel and musical chairs, followed by jelly and ice cream.